Electric charger symbol for cars, Alamy stock pic via PAElectric charger symbol for cars, Alamy stock pic via PA


Car makers set to fall short of 22% EV target set out in ZEV mandate – SMMT

  • Car manufacturers to miss Government target for electric vehicle sales, MPs told
  • The share of the new car market held by pure battery electrics is predicted to be just 19.8% this year
  • Figures emerge as SMMT gives evidence to Commons’ Transport Select Committee

Time 7:52 am, May 16, 2024

Car makers are not on track to meet the terms of the government’s controversial ZEV mandate this year, the SMMT has told MPs.

Appearing before the House of Commons’ Transport Select Committee, the trade body said the mandated 22% target is likely to prove a bridge too far for manufacturers.

The group’s figures predict that the share of the new car market held by pure battery electric vehicles will be 19.8% by the end of 2024.

This year, the required percentage is 22 – and 10% of new vans – rising each year to 100% in 2035.

Car makers unable to meet their targets will be fined, with the government proposing a £15,000 penalty for every non-electric car and £18,000 per non-electric van they miss their target by.

SMMT head of technology and innovation David Wong told the committee the industry will not meet this year’s requirements as ‘we’re below that trajectory’.

He said: ‘Our members feel that the market will be – in terms of battery electric – cars 19.8% and vans 8.3%.

‘So it’s below the 22% for cars and 10% for vans.’

Martin Sander, general manager of Ford’s electric car business, told the Financial Times Future of the Car summit earlier this month that the company could be forced to restrict sales of petrol cars in the UK to artificially boost the proportion of EV purchases.

Ministers say they do not expect any businesses to face fines this year, as they will be able to use flexibilities such as purchasing credits from rival companies.

Quentin Willson, automotive journalist and founder of EV campaign group FairCharge, said: ‘We need to give people a reason to buy these cars.’

He also called for ‘inexpensive incentives’ for owning an EV, such as free parking and being able to use bus lanes, and hit out at ‘misinformation’, which he say is ‘really putting people off’ buying an EV.

He said: ‘These cars are reliable, they don’t catch fire, the batteries don’t fail, they work.

‘People are driving them happily.’

Speaking after the session with MPs, Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, added: ‘Whether it’s buying or running an electric car, cost is clearly a key issue, but the mood music from Whitehall suggests there will be no more public money to ease buyers into the market.

‘That leaves manufacturers with the task of pitching their products at the right price to drive sales and meet their obligations under the ZEV mandate.

‘Drivers want faff-free motoring and that’s clearly still a work in progress when it comes to running and recharging EVs.

‘Industry and Government need to tackle the negative perceptions, and quickly, if the ultimate goal of greening road transport is to be achieved at a rapid pace.’

The SMMT said in a statement: ‘Manufacturers have invested billions to meet the UK’s ambitious targets with ever more of the latest, greenest models coming to market, however, decarbonisation ultimately depends on buyer demand.

‘The most effective approach to transforming the market, therefore, is for Government to introduce smarter fiscal incentives on electric vehicle purchases and public charging, to support private consumers, not just corporate customers.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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